As much as 5.3 million diesel cars in Germany will have new engine software, following a deal between the country’s car manufacturers and government officials.
The deal aims to appease environmental groups that seek to ban diesel vehicles due to pollution. It also signified increasing pressure placed on the Merkel administration to take action on environmental concerns.
While the planned upgrades will not likely apply to military car sales in Kaiserslautern and other specialized vehicles, Bavarian Motor Cars agrees that German ministers have been cautious to apply such changes. There are 15 million owners of diesel cars in the country, so altering engine software at a swift pace can inflict much damage to Germany’s largest exporter.
Jobs are also at risk if certain steps are not properly executed, as the auto industry employs an estimated 800,000 people. The German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) estimated the cost of the software upgrades to be worth 593 million dollars. For now, government officials and carmakers have agreed to conduct the software upgrades to 5.3 million units. The deal also takes place as KBA released the official figures for car sales in July.
Total demand for cars in Germany rose 1.5% in July, despite a 12.7% decline in diesel cars sales, according to the KBA. As such, a smaller number of sold diesel cars partly caused an increase in carbon dioxide emissions. The German vehicle authority said that diesel vehicles emit around 20% less carbon dioxide compared to vehicles with petrol engines.
The KBA recorded a 0.4% increase in average emissions per vehicle for the month, equal to 128.4 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer.
Carmakers have taken steps to regain consumers’ trust in providing environment-friendly vehicles. The agreement for upgrading engine software serves as the first step toward achieving that goal.